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First Half of Life Spirituality

November 30, 2016

 

Inspirational speaker and Franciscan friar, Richard Rohr, has given me much insight into life in general, and my own more specifically. He explains there are two major tasks in the human spiritual journey. He calls one The First Half of Life and the other The Second Half of Life.  They are not necessarily in two exact halves of a lifespan. The point at which we transition can occur anytime. Richard Rohr says this transition is facilitated by either great love or great suffering ... usually the latter.

The task of The First Half is to create a container for life and answer some essential questions. For example, “Who am I?” “What makes me significant?” “How can I support myself?” “Who will go with me?”

The task of The Second Half is to find the actual contents the container was meant to hold and deliver. By way of explanation, the container is for the purpose of the contents. patheos.com

This is true for us as spiritual humans. The First Half of Life Spirituality needs to be about "doing" (that is its primary language). The gentle encouragement is to make the gradual transition to adult spirituality, where the focus is on "being". Unless you have made this transition it will be mostly misunderstood, rejected and even vilified. The spirit tenderly beckons, "It is time to leave". It was good, right and oh so necessary! But it is time to move on. And when we do, a very different picture comes into focus – a picture full of poetic licence and privileges. One of which, is that now (for the right reasons) we can break the rules, because we have learned how to keep them.

The tragedy with The First Half of Life Spirituality is that we outgrow it and very few know of the existence of the next phase. There are hints and clues that we have, as it generally becomes counter-productive. It is the tyranny of inward resistance, yet an outward compliance always beckons us. There are countless numbers within the Church who are ready to move forward; to graduate, but no one has told them that they can.

Let me say again but differently; theological certainties cannot be converted to inward surety and the illusion is that this is a natural progression. The place of inward security is very different to that of outward certainty. The less one has of the first, the more he/she will need of the other.

 

Bob Garbett
 

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